when it's time to get out of the race

Thursday, September 12, 2013

photo by Jeffrey Chan
True story.

A few days ago, the kids went for a bike ride around a pond.  My toddler is surprisingly focused on her little balance bike, but over time she waned, eventually abandoning her task completely and sitting in a puddle.  It was time for a snack.  I called to my son just ahead of me, asking him to tell his brother it was time to stop and rest.  He hurried ahead, and I watched he and his brother disappear around a bend.

After a while my son came back.  "I tried to tell him," he said, "But I just couldn't catch him."

The path was a loop, so I wasn't concerned.  The rest of us finished our drinks and meandered back to our bikes.

A few minutes later my other son rode up behind me.  "Mom, guess what!" he panted.  "I won!  We raced, and he almost beat me, but I went faster and I won!  I rode all the way around!"

I laughed to myself as I looked at my beaming little boy.  "I sent him to tell you we were taking a break," I said.  "He was trying to help you."

"Oh," he smiled sheepishly.  "Well.  I still won."

I immediately saw myself in my son.

How many times has someone wanted to encourage or help me, and I missed it because I was too busy comparing myself to them?  How many moments were meant to offer nourishment and rest, and I viewed them as a race?

My first few years as a mother were beautiful.  I was finally a mother, and I had two sweet little boys eighteen months apart.  Yet I was miserable.  Everything another mom did with her baby felt like a statement about what I should be doing with mine.  Every tiny detail about  my children's lives felt like a measure of my job performance.  Every comment mattered, every suggestion stung.  I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  I felt like a failure.

Until I realized there are no gold stars in life.

No one was handing out an A in mothering.  No one was grading my performance.  There was no race, and if there was, I could opt out of it.  The mothers around me were really just my friends, sharing what had worked for them because they cared about me and wanted my life to be easier.  They were riding alongside, offering nourishment, and I was finally ready to slow down long enough hear them.

Mothers were never meant to work alone.  Motherhood was never meant to be a competition.  When we stop comparing ourselves to one another, life is richer and more pleasant.  When we get out of the race, we can trust ourselves, trust each other, and enjoy the view along the way.

* * * * * * 

I'm a MOPS blogger today!  If you followed the link from MOPS, you may enjoy a post about the days when you really need a stunt double, how I think God feels about the early baby days, or what I did when I felt nothing toward my kids.  

If you followed a link from Prodigal Magazine, and aren't that interested in mommy life, you may enjoy reading why I gave up on God's will, or how one book has changed my life (hint: it's not the Bible).  

AND - I'm giving away a MOPS membership!  To enter, just leave a comment below with a link to your favorite mom blog.  I've been reading blogs for years, but some of my favorite bloggers have retired, and I need fresh voices.  You can link to your own blog, or just post some of your favorites.  Each link is one entry, so leave as many as you'd like!  On Monday, September 16, I will put the names in a bowl and let my toddler pull one.  Make sure to check back Monday to see if you won!  In the meantime, don't miss the great blogs in the comment section, and feel free to look around.  We're glad you're here.


  1. Yours is my favorite parenting blog because your posts are always so poinant. It's like hearing a sermon and feeling like it was directed specifically to you. This post is no difference. You are so right about comparison only leading to failure. You'll never be able to live up to someone else because you are not them!

    For my entry, I'll suggest Momastery.

  2. Another one is Moxie Made.

  3. For a spirit lifter that's sure to make you chuckle, I love Simply Sanderson!

  4. Another favorite is the Happiness Project Blog.

  5. I love reading A Wide Mercy! I hope I was never a momma who made a comment that stung, but only a friend together in a feels-like-I'm-sinking ship. Your help in navigating food allergies has always been an encouragement to me, and knowing you were doing the hard things, too, made them a bit easier for me.

    I'd love for your readers to check us out at

    where my sister and I are celebrating Every Birth is Beautiful Month! You can read the many inspiring birth stories that tell of God's great care of tiny new lives.

    -Mustang Sally

  6. The author is no longer updating, but I still go back and read through the archives! Passionate Homemaking ( was a wonderful blog geared toward young moms.

  7. I love my boys are both young (3 and 10 months) and I love the great ideas that I can use to educate them!

  8. Hey Stephanie! I loved this blog's so easy as moms to be competitive and distance ourselves from one another when we really need eachother! I'm just getting back into blogging myself. Check it out!

    Thanks for this post! Much Love!

  9. Hi Stephanie - I also have 2 little boys about 18 months apart, and boy was that a crazy few years! :) Now they are the best of friends and are 2 peas in a pod. Since I have 3 kiddos to keep entertained with things that don't involve screen time, I love to visit the Play At Home Mom, LLC website. They have some amazingly simple, fun, creative, inexpensive, play ideas for kids of all ages. I am amazed every time I stop by, as they always have something new to do! Check it out here:

  10. Another favorite blog of mine:

  11. And don't forget to check out this one! Definitely one of my top 3 mom blogs to read:

  12. Alright, I just thought of another one. :) Hope you get a chance to check this out!

  13. PREACH.

    "There was no race, and if there was, I could opt out of it."


    Joining a Mom's group (mine happens to be a moms of multiples group) completely changed my life. I found a few close friends who were REAL. Ones that I could relate to, encourage, and draw encouragement from. And I took steps back from relationships where I felt like the race was unavoidable. It unclenched my shoulders and helped me breathe.



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